Several lawmakers and citizens have expressed objection to the $2,500 (KD 720) bank guarantee imposed by the Indian Embassy on Kuwaitis who want to hire female domestic workers from India, asserting this is unnecessary considering the good relationship between the two countries.
MP Auda Al-Ruwai has called on Kuwait’s Foreign Affairs Ministry to work towards cancellation of the decision as he sees no reason for imposing such a huge amount, especially since Kuwaiti families have not had any problem with Indian housemaids in terms of salary and other labor-related issues.
He asserted Kuwaiti families respect Indian maids because they don’t cause major problems. He added Kuwaitis have long and good experience and relations with Indian maids who are treated as part of the family.
He hopes this issue will be resolved soon, in cooperation with the Indian side. MP Khalil Abdullah argued the decision contravenes the Constitution of Kuwait and its laws, as well as the diplomatic norms. He claimed such actions pose a grave threat to the rights of Kuwaitis in their own homeland.
He stressed that protecting the rights of all people living in the country, including citizens and foreigners, is the prerogative of the Kuwaiti government; not the Indian Embassy or any other embassy and political entities.
He considers the decision a blatant interference in the internal affairs of Kuwait and a challenge to the Kuwaiti government to shoulder its responsibilities in order to protect citizens. He warned that the passage of this resolution means accepting similar decisions from other embassies and a violation of the law; hence, it is unacceptable.
He said the National Assembly totally rejects the decision and will put pressure on the government by using constitutional tools to stop implementation of the decision. He warned about the dire consequences of implementing the decision, particularly in the public and political sectors.
He wondered what could be the motivation behind issuance of the decision, considering the harmonious relationship between Kuwait and India. He also emphasized the need to fix the lopsided demographic to protect the rights of all parties involved, in addition to maintaining national security.
On the other hand, Al-Jarida daily reporter Fahad Al-Turki thinks the decision is a mistake on the part of the Indian Embassy as it will prompt Kuwaitis to recruit maids from other countries. He argued this move is a way of exploiting Kuwaitis who do not want to hire housemaids from certain countries due to previous violations.
He said this is a wrong step especially this time when the country is experiencing an economic crisis due to the oil price decline in the global market. “I am aware that majority of Kuwait’s lawmakers are against this move; so this will put pressure on the government to take the necessary steps, in cooperation with its Indian counterpart, to address the issue and put everything back to normal.”
Furthermore, Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) reporter Saud Al-Sultan pointed out the decision is another financial burden for Kuwaiti families because the bank guarantee will not protect their rights as well as that of the Indian housemaids. He said the recruitment of Indian housemaids costs about KD 1,000 and if the KD 720 bank guarantee is added to this, the total will be KD 1,720 which is equivalent to the salary of a Kuwaiti with a master’s degree.
He also asked if the decision is enough guarantee for the Kuwaiti families that the Indian housemaids will not escape and seek refuge at the embassy or the domestic labor office. He wondered what could be the advantage of imposing such a huge amount of bank guarantee if there is no law protecting the rights of both the housemaids and sponsors.
He urged the government to thoroughly look into the issue because it has nothing to do with money, asserting the Indian maids are not commodities and Kuwaiti homes are not places for ‘experimenting’ on these maids. “Under such circumstances, we need a law which protects the rights of domestic workers and their sponsors,” he concluded.